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Full text of "Miss Ida: the story of Ida Shumaker"

9 



MISS IDA 

The Story of Ida Shuma^cr 



Compiled 

by 

ANETTA C. MOW 




BRETHREN PUBLISHING HOUSE 
Elgin, Illinois 



Copyright. 1947 

by 

GENERAL MISSION BOARD 

CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN 



Printed in the United States of America 



JUL 2 4 1947 

Bv 

SM-3 




Ida Cora Shumaker 



DEDICATED 

to 

all those who loved 

MISS IDA 



Contents 



Page 

Frontispiece 

List of Illustrations 6 

Introduction 7 

Preface 9 

I. Saved to Serve 13 

II. I Was Not Disobedient 19 

III. Hitherto Hath the Lord Helped Us 27 

IV. Watch God Work While You Pray 35 

V. What Hath God Wrought 47 

VI. The Lord Hath Done Great Things for Us 55 

Tributes From Fellow Workers in India 61 

Illustrations 65-80 



Illustrations 

Page 

Ida Cora Shumaker Frontispiece 

"Retreat," Miss Ida's Bulsar Home 65 

Bulsar Church and Bible Lines 65 

The Miss Sahebs in 1914 66 

Bulsar Missionaries about 1912 67 

Enjoying the Luscious Mango 67 

Miss Ida at Wanki on Christmas Day, 1922 68 

Ida Shumaker Visiting in a Vyara Village 68 

The Jalalpor Bungalow 69 

Miss Ida Loved the Children 69 

The Banyan Vista on the Jalalpor Road 70 

At Bulsar: The Medical Bungalow and 

Number Two Bungalow 71 

Missionaries Attending Mission Conference, 1937 72 

Fording the River Between Bulsar and Khergam 73 

Miss Ida's First Home Near Khergam 73 

School Children and Village People at Khergam 74 

A Khergam Schoolgirl 74 

Khergam Congregation, 1930 75 

Elder Naranji V. Solanki and Family 76 

Naranji and Benabai 76 

Dedication of Khergam Church, March 1934 77 

Christian Workers in Bamanvel Village 78 

Aunt Ida, 1940 79 

Sister Ida Among the Dahlias 79 

English Cemetery at Bulsar 80 



Introduction 



One of the most sacred privileges I have ever had was 
to care for Miss Ida during her final illness. For five 
weeks she was with the Doctors Cottrell and me in our 
home here at Bulsar where we could give her all possible 
attention. 

In my days of training as a nurse and during the years 
that have followed I have had many patients, but never 
have I cared for one who co-operated so fully and who 
was so patient as Miss Ida. She never wished to cause 
extra work and she never wanted special attention. She 
made her doctors and nurse feel that she appreciated 
everything we did for her. Therefore I look back upon 
her illness with reverence and I feel a deep gratitude 
that I could serve as her nurse in those last days. 

Not only in sickness but in health did Ida Shumaker 
show her concern for others. Those who worked closest 
to her appreciated her generous spirit the most. It can 
truly be said that those who were her friends loved her 
with increasing appreciation. It has always seemed espe- 
cially significant to me that her co-workers who lived 
and worked with her day by day always testified that 
she never spared herself but gave freely and joyously 
of her spirit and energy, time and means to help every- 
one about her. Her loyalty and friendship held equally 
steady through times of persecution and criticism, and 



Miss Ida 

through times of prosperity and praise. They knew she 
loved them, whatever their condition might be, because 
she was moved with marvelous compassion. 

When I heard that this account of her life was being 
prepared I was glad and I prayed that the ideals and 
qualities of her life might be so portrayed and the facts 
concerning her work might be so reported that her spirit 
should continue to live on in the hearts of all who read 
it. The author has spent many hours in assembling this 
information from records in our church publications, 
from letters and from the spoken word of friends. And 
now I commend this little volume to all those who knew 
Miss Ida and to many others, especially the young people 
of the church, who should be inspired by her life. Would 
that all who read these pages might know with her that 

They who trust Him wholly 
Find Him wholly true. 

Verna M. Blickenstaff 
Bulsar, India 



Preface 



Ida Shumaker's life was a life which inspired many 
people to a deeper love for missions in the sharing of 
Jesus Christ with the people of India; and so it was a 
definite joy to accept the assignment of writing her life's 
story. Many hours have been spent in reading through 
the volumes of the Missionary Visitor since 1910 and the 
articles and items of news in the Gospel Messengers 
which gave information concerning Miss Ida and her 
work. If such a task has been work, it has been a labor 
of love. Also letters have been written to her co-workers, 
friends and family, and many items of interest have been 
contributed. 

The material in this small book has been gathered from 
church papers, from letters and from conversations with 
those who knew her intimately and from those who knew 
her but a short while. The author rejoices in the fact 
that she has been a long-time friend of Ida Shumaker and 
that for fourteen years we were "laborers together with 
Him" on the India field. And always it is with a deep 
sense of gratitude that I recall the first days of our ac- 
quaintance here in America when she in her gracious way 
put me at ease in strange surroundings. She had invited 
me to be her guest at luncheon on the train, and we were 
served strawberry shortcake. Who could ever forget 
such kindness of a missionary on furlough to a timid 
young girl who had never been in a dining car before! 



Miss Ida 

This incident is mentioned here because it is so charac- 
teristic of Miss Ida. She was always doing the kind and 
generous thing for others. 

It is believed that the church at large will feel thank- 
ful to all those who have given information. 

Sister Ida's life was so filled with that spark of in- 
spiration and glow of emanation that it has not been an 
easy task to capture this glory of her personality and 
put it into words. Her whole being throbbed with the 
desire to make Christ known and loved. She overflowed 
with enthusiasm for the sake of the kingdom of God. It 
can be said of her in the adapted words of this poem: 

She lived in deeds, not years, in thoughts, not breaths; 
In feelings, not in figures on a dial, 
She counted time by heart throbs. 

He most lives 
Who thinks most, 
Feels the noblest, 
Acts the best. 

From the biographies of lives wholly dedicated to 
Christ, every reader should receive inspiration and bless- 
ing. Within our church's missionary experience there 
are many life stories which should be written and widely 
read in order that we might know what these men and 
women of God have done for the sake of the church and 
for the kingdom. This story of Ida Shumaker's life has 
been written with the hope that all who read it will share 
the fellowship of her spirit. 

Anetta C. Mow 
Elgin, Illinois 



MISS IDA 

The Story of Ida Shumaker 



SAVED TO SERVE 



Life is a mystery, a deep and relentless mystery, 

Too deep for fathoming. 
Life is a gift, a rare and priceless gift, 

Too rare for thoughtless living. 



CHAPTER I 



Saved to Serve 



"Behold, what God hath wrought" is an exclamation 
that was often heard from the lips of Ida Shumaker. She 
was stating in her own way the same words of rejoicing 
which men like Job, Daniel and Paul had felt when 
they were conscious of the marvelous work of God. Ida 
Shumaker was keenly conscious of God's presence and 
his great power. So often did she break forth with this 
refrain that it may truly be said that it was one of her 
life's mottoes. She had many others and all found their 
origin in the deep fountain of her Christian experience 
and faith. 

One day in the late summer, October 27, 1873, into the 
home of Alexander E. and Lydia Lint Shumaker, who 
lived in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, a baby girl, their 
fourth child, came to live and bring happiness. They 
named her Ida Cora Shumaker. She had two brothers 
and three sisters: Anna, William, Margaret, Emeline and 
Frank. 

Ida grew like other children and attended the public 
schools in Meyersdale, yet somehow there was something 
manifestly different about her. God had His hands on 
this child from her beginning, and manifested Himself 
to her even during her early years. She felt His presence 

13 



Miss Ida 

when quite young; especially was this true when with 
a smaller sister she was miraculously saved from drown- 
ing. From then on she felt that God had saved her life 
for a purpose and that she belonged to Him. 

At the early age of eleven years she taught a class 
in the primary department of the Sunday school. She 
not only taught but she helped wherever she could. At 
fourteen she made the public confession of her faith in 
God by baptism and united with the church. From that 
time on, in a more devoted way, she helped wherever 
needed. 

Miss Ida was one of the first two to graduate from the 
Meyersdale schools. She was sixteen years old. She 
then began her teaching career, which lasted in America 
twenty-one consecutive years. Her summers were given 
over to further education, to lecture tours, to Sunday- 
school work, and to other interests. When Jacob Riis, 
the noted lecturer, met her and saw her work he said 
that now he had seen two people who knew how to handle 
children. Her county superintendent said she had no 
superior in primary work. She did have a unique way 
of handling youngsters. She loved them and they loved 
her. 

During these years Miss Ida devoted much time to 
church and Sunday-school work. She had charge of the 
beginner and primary departments. She was the home 
department visitor on a route which covered ten miles 
and included twenty-nine members. She was called 
many times into homes where there was trouble, sorrow, 
sickness or death to read or pray for the people. She al- 

14 



Saved to Serve 



ways went never thinking of herself and never seeming 
to get tired. She did much missionary work among the 
Sunday schools of Western Pennsylvania with Brother 
Ross Murphy, who was then the district secretary of 
Western Pennsylvania. For two summers she did home 
mission work in the Pittsburgh congregation. 

A rich life of enlarged usefulness seemed to be taking 
shape for service in America, and then came the call to 
go to India. At the time of her baptism she had pledged 
her first allegiance to God, but now she found herself 
struggling to know God's will for her life even while she 
believed that she stood at the threshold of a life in which 
she could serve well. On one hand she thought that she 
could never be a missionary because she felt she was not 
in the least worthy. On the other hand she had to face 
the question of giving up the joy of having a home of her 
own and all that its companionship would have meant to 
her. For two years Miss Ida battled against the call and 
she had written a refusal to the General Mission Board. 
Then one night when she was sitting at home quietly hav- 
ing her devotions everything was suddenly changed. In 
a moment of clear revelation she saw her Lord and she 
knew what he would have her do. Also it was as if a 
small child beckoned her to come to India. Now she 
knew that God had spoken personally to her and that she 
was to go to India and work with the children of that 
great land. Her surrender was made and with it came 
peace and the calm assurance of God's blessing. She 
wrote another letter to the Mission Board saying she was 
ready to go to India. 



15 



Miss Ida 

From that day forward, Ida always felt that those days 
of testing with their final victory had been of inestimable 
worth to her, for they had given her the necessary courage 
to face all that her life and work should bring. She 
knew without a doubt that God wanted her in India; 
so she never doubted when difficulties came. Even when 
a doctor warned her that she could not live more than 
six months in the hot, unhealthy climate of India, she 
smiled and said, "My God will take care of that; if the 
Lord sends, He gives the power to go and do and say." 

Her definition of a missionary was "God's man or 
God's woman in God's place doing God's work in God's 
will for God's glory." 

In June 1910 at the great missionary conference held at 
Winona Lake, Indiana, Ida Shumaker was approved for 
service in India and Minerva Metzger for China. Elder 
D. L. Miller was the chairman and Steven Berkebile, who 
had recently returned from India, led the devotions. It 
was a day of high inspiration and dedication for Sister 
Ida. She returned home to make final preparations for 
sailing in the fall. 



16 



To the Sunday schools of the Western District of Penn- 
sylvania — loving greetings to all; grace and peace be 
multiplied. Beloved in the Lord, your beautiful, soul- 
inspiring message is mine. God alone knows what it 
means to us to receive such messages of love, hope and 
good cheer. Such messages are a source of great joy and 
encouragement. They fill one with renewed zeal and de- 
termination to push forward in the work of the Master. 
Permit me at this time, and in this way, to thank you 
most heartily for the same, and not alone for the message, 
but also for your generous "gift for personal needs as the 
Lord may direct." Words fail me when I try to tell you 
how much I appreciate the message and the gift. The 
dear Lord bless you abundantly and reward you accord- 
ingly. Truly God has been good to us and has been 
blessing us richly in all things! It therefore becomes us 
to "sing praises unto our God, sing praises." May we never 
grow weary in well doing, but may each year find us doing 
still "more and better work for Jesus." What a joy to 
know that you are not only ready but willing to make 
the necessary sacrifice to support two, instead of one, on 
the foreign field! God be praised! Your blessings shall 
now be twofold. Surely the angels of heaven must sing 
and rejoice. Let the good work go on! Continue to do 
God the honor to trust him. See if he does not even in 
this life prove that "he that soweth bountifully shall reap 
also bountifully." Since I have so recently written you a 
lengthy message I shall say no more at this time. Con- 
tinue to pray most earnestly for the work and all the 
workers. "Few can go; most can give; all can pray!" 
So, brethren, pray for us. 

Yours in Christian love and service, 
Ida C. Shumaker 

January Missionary Visitor, 1913 

17 



I WAS NOT DISOBEDIENT 

"I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision." — St. 
Paul (Acts 26:19) 



CHAPTER II 



/ Was Not "Disobedient 



On October 26, 1910, the day before her birthday, Ida 
sailed from New York on the Campania in company with 
the Jesse Emmert family. Many friends had come to 
see them off. It would be most difficult to describe the 
emotions which surged within her heart as the ship put 
out to sea and faces on the wharf grew dim. Ida ex- 
perienced every one of them and her cup of joy over- 
flowed when she went to her cabin and found waiting 
for her one hundred thirty-one messages filled with 
love, hope and good cheer from friends. As Ida tried to 
write her thanks to those who had remembered her, she 
could only say, "Remember the inasmuch." 

After transshipping in Liverpool, England, the party 
went on to India, reaching Bombay on November 28. 
The next day Miss Ida came to Bulsar, which was to be 
her first home. As the train pulled into the station the 
party was met by missionaries and Indian Christians. 
Many bouquets and garlands of fragrant flowers were 
showered upon them. Then as they went on to the mis- 
sion house they were surrounded by lines of schoolboys 
carrying torches and singing songs of welcome. Ida said 
that her heart was filled with joy and hope too full for 
utterance. 

19 



Miss Ida 

As with all new missionaries, Ida found the first months 
intensely interesting. During her first Christmas week 
she went with Eliza Miller for several days on a trip 
through the fisher villages of Bhat, Kakvadi and Onjal. 
She enjoyed all the experiences even when she had to 
wade mud and water two feet deep. 

Miss Ida was filled with enthusiasm and she entered 
into her study of the Gujarati language with zest; so 
close was her application to her study that she completed 
the second year's course three months ahead of schedule 
time. 

In fact, she was called upon to take charge of the girls' 
school at Bulsar after she had been in India but thirteen 
months. There were forty-one girls in the orphanage. 
Her work and her study fully occupied her time. Her 
days were crowded with duties and she was extremely 
happy directing the work of the girls in both the school 
and the dormitory. The girls were taught the arts of 
homemaking, such as sewing, mending, knitting, grinding, 
cooking, sweeping and washing. 

The girls' school was like a large family and all the 
girls looked to Miss Ida as to an older sister. There was 
much sickness and there was death; there were weddings, 
many of them. New girls came and older girls left. Ida 
clearly remembered the time when sixteen new girls 
were brought into the Bulsar school all at once. This 
was when she herself had gone to the famous Mukti 
school to visit Pandita Ramabai and had returned with 
the group of new pupils. 

She was always friendly with the girls and the teachers 

20 



I Was Not Disobedient 



and together they enjoyed many joyful occasions; how- 
ever, she was a good disciplinarian and all knew that she 
expected honest endeavor from them. Once when several 
teachers persisted in coming to their work late, she said 
nothing for a while. But each day she observed the time 
when each teacher came to work and kept a record. At 
the end of the month when she handed out the pay en- 
velopes, surprise and chagrin were written on the faces 
of those who had been coming late. All Miss Ida said 
was, "I'm paying you for the time you taught, not for the 
time you wasted." Nothing more was necessary, for the 
difficulty had been solved. 

In India she soon discovered that the same satisfaction 
she had experienced in Sunday-school work in America 
was hers. Special emphasis was given to Sunday-school 
work. Throughout the whole of India there was an estab- 
lished practice of giving the All-India Sunday-school ex- 
aminations in all Christian schools and our missionaries 
were glad to be a part of this great work. Ida gave her- 
self enthusiastically to Sunday-school endeavor and each 
year gave more of her time to the Sunday schools at 
Bulsar and throughout the mission. It was always a con- 
stant source of inspiration to her that her friends in the 
Sunday schools of Western Pennsylvania were support- 
ing her and her work. 

It was a joy for her to prepare primary lessons for the 
Sunday-school quarterly. Her experience in America 
prepared her for this type of work on the field, and she 
was right in her element both when she taught her own 
classes and when she showed others how to teach. The 



21 



Miss Ida 

parents were made happy when they listened to then- 
children sing songs, give Scripture portions and take part 
in the exercises of the Sunday school. Many of the songs 
they sang had been translated into their language by 
Miss Ida. 

Although it always caused extra concern and work, 
Miss Ida was especially happy when the primary de- 
partment outgrew its quarters. There were times when 
Kaliparaj (name for hill tribes) children of the Dubla 
and Dhodia castes came into her kindergarten class in 
such numbers that other rooms had to be found. Her 
heart went out to the Dubla caste children. She won 
their acquaintance and friendship and at one time there 
were one hundred sixty-nine in the class. There was 
also a mission band which she opened for the children 
who lived on and near the compound. The little folks 
enjoyed this class while their mothers were attending 
their women's meetings. 

Miss Ida was grateful for the privilege of doing spe- 
cial teaching in the Bai Avabai high school of Bulsar 
each Saturday for one hour over a period of several years. 
More than two hundred intelligent boys from Hindu, 
Parsi, Mohammedan and Christian homes attended this 
school. She always felt that this was a great opportunity 
to teach and live the high ideals of Christ. She rejoiced 
when in later years a Brahman gentleman with his Ph.D. 
degree told her that her lectures had been a great in- 
spiration to him in his youth. 

Ida loved children. This was seen in many ways. Not 
a few grown-up men and women of today remember 

22 



I Was Not Disobedient 



those days when they were children and Miss Ida sur- 
prised them with a doll, a picture or some candy. She 
always had a surprise in store. One example of her 
methods was seen when she and some Christian children 
went into a new village. From a distance they had seen 
crowds of children and her hope ran high. But when 
they came into the village not a child could be seen or 
heard. The place was perfectly still. Miss Ida asked 
herself where those children could have gone so quickly 
and so suddenly. She looked up and down the road 
and not one was to be seen. Then she had an idea. She 
would stop long enough to place some bright-colored 
Sunday-school picture cards under some stones. Then 
she waited at a short distance and began to sing. As 
she looked up what did she see? There perched on the 
limbs of the trees like birds were many of the children 
watching every move she made. For a while they lis- 
tened to the singing and then one by one they slid down. 
They secured the pretty cards. Soon from behind trees, 
huts and hedges came the rest of the children. They too 
wanted pictures. Soon the whole crowd came and such 
a service as they had! This was the beginning of further 
work in that village. 

The missionary children also found in her a delightful 
friend. The majority of them remember many incidents 
in which Miss Ida gave them pleasant surprises, told 
them thrilling stories and inspired them to do their 
best. Many of the missionary children remember the 
times when she "took their picture" in her own special 
way. This usually happened at mission conference time 



23 



Miss Ida 

when the children were together, having come from their 
various homes. Miss Ida would say, "Children, would 
you like your picture taken?" Everyone answered, "Yes," 
whether he knew what was about to happen or not. Then 
she instructed them to stand in line, and when all was in 
readiness she started at one end with a large tin box 
under her arm. Each one was asked to shut his eyes and 
hold out his hand. Quickly each hand was filled with 
candy — the hard, round kind — and the "picture was 
taken." With thanks and smiles and laughter the chil- 
dren would then scamper away to their play. 

Whenever the opportunity presented itself, Miss Ida 
gave a gift of money to a missionary child as he left on 
furlough, saying, "Buy for yourself some little curio 
on the way home to America." Several of the mission 
family children, although now grown up, treasure their 
olive-wood New Testaments bought in Jerusalem or their 
picture or some piece of fancy work secured along the 
way. 

For the missionary children who lived near or in the 
same bungalow with Aunt Ida, her room was a real 
mecca. They never felt that she was too busy to wel- 
come them and entertain them. There was a glass 
cabinet in her room filled with beautiful little cups and 
saucers and other lovely dishes. For the children this 
cabinet was a treasure store and it was a red-letter day 
never to be forgotten whenever Aunt Ida gave a tea party 
and honored each child by asking her to drink from a 
beautiful cup. 

Even her prized phonograph was graciously shared 




I Was Not Disobedient 



with the children. She would give them careful instruc- 
tion about its use and then turn the running of it over 
to them. They did not abuse her confidence in them. 

Aunt Ida was a wonderful storyteller. Not only did 
the children feel shivers and thrills play up and down 
their spines when she told an exciting true story, but 
understanding adults were also intrigued by them. Who 
could forget her story about her own little finger bitten 
completely off by a hysterical schoolgirl, or the one about 
the sleepwalker who frightened folks in the dead of 
night, or that one about the half-witted gardener who at- 
tempted to hang himself from the rafters of the veranda? 
It made no difference whether her stories were taken 
from her own experiences or whether they were from 
the Bible; she made them glow and become alive. 

Ida's first furlough came in 1917. She returned home 
by way of the Pacific. Annual Conference was held at 
Hershey, Pennsylvania, that spring and Miss Ida spoke 
to a large audience that hung on her words. This was 
to be true of all the groups that heard her during the 
length of her furlough period. Letters continually reached 
the General Mission Board from people asking that Ida 
Shumaker visit their churches. If she had come on fur- 
lough for a rest, rest could be had only through a change 
of program and not in a quiet retreat. No one knows in 
how many churches she spoke and how many homes she 
visited during the nineteen months she was in America, 
but the list would be a long one. She had stirred the 
imagination of many people and she had molded senti- 
ment for India. 



25 



Hitherto Hath the Lord Helped Us 

"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."— The Prophet 
Samuel (1 Samuel 7: 12) 



CHAPTER III 



Hitherto Hath the Lord Helped Us 



By the last day of 1918, Ida Shumaker was back in 
India and her home was at Jalalpor. This time the 
task given was to man the Jalalpor station and to start 
a school for Kaliparaj girls. The opening of this school 
was much opposed. And the opposition was increased 
and complicated by the entrance into the government 
high school of twenty Christian boys. When these 
twenty walked in, several hundred Hindu pupils walked 
out. Then followed strenuous days until this strike was 
settled. Miss Ida looked to the One who had called her 
to India. She kept her poise in Him even when prejudiced 
officials sent her an official notice to meet them in a dis- 
tant village. Five villages were to meet and discuss the 
situation. She would be the only woman present. She 
dared to refuse the summons three times, but at last 
invited them to her bungalow. They came and the prob- 
able trouble was averted. The opposition was conquered. 
By the time the Christians were ready to dedicate the 
girls' school the number in Sunday school had grown to 
four hundred. 

Then in 1920 Miss Ida was appointed to be children's 
missionary for the whole mission with her headquarters 

27 



Miss Ida 

at Bulsar. She held institutes in all of the sixty-five 
schools then in the mission. And whenever she was at 
Bulsar she made efforts to find the Dubla children who 
had been in her class before she went on furlough; they 
were now scattered she knew not where in her four years' 
absence. After a three months' fruitless search, one day 
walking on the road and praying for her lost sheep she 
suddenly heard a voice and then two arms were thrown 
around her neck with the cry, "Oh, Missy Mama, why 
did you leave us these four years?" And she turned to 
find one of her lost children, still a small girl, but now 
a wife of four years with two little girls of her own. 
Through this little mother she found the rest and they 
all begged for another class in which they could again 
hear the Jesus story. Since she had no room in which 
to meet with them they met under a tree until a Christian 
family near by in Wanki offered their home as a meeting 
place. Some superstitious ones as they came into this 
home sprinkled water over their heads to protect them- 
selves from defilement. But they came until the Sunday- 
school attendance soon reached four hundred and the 
last year before her next furlough the average Sunday 
attendance was five hundred fifty-five. Through this 
work the stronghold of caste was broken so that hearts 
were opened up for the reception of the gospel. Forty 
were baptized and a number of children also entered 
the boarding school. 

When the 1919 Gujarat district meeting was held at 
Vyara, Ida Shumaker was one of the speakers. The mes- 
sage she gave concerning the progress of missions through- 

28 



Hitherto Hath the Lord Helped Us 



out the world was one that opened many eyes and broad- 
ened horizons for all who heard. Her vision was world 
wide and she longed that the Christians in India should 
realize the vast program of the kingdom of God. 

The numerous duties which crowd themselves into 
the program of a missionary, especially when the attempt 
is made to shoulder the duties of others, usually take 
their toll. This happened to Sister Ida after a year 
and a half of heavy work, and she was ordered by the 
doctor to go to Landour for rest. For five months she 
was in the high mountains, where she regained her 
strength and had the rest she needed. 

Bulsar again became Miss Ida's home in 1921 and she 
lived in her former "Retreat," a line of two rooms a 
hundred yards west of bungalow No. 1. Her time and 
energy went into work with the children at Bulsar, Wanki 
and Wankal. She felt that she should live for the chil- 
dren, for if India was to be won to Christ it would need 
to happen largely through the children. Christmas came 
to be an outstanding day for the whole community. Prep- 
arations were made far in advance of the date for the 
children to have part in the program. Not only did the 
children come but their parents also came. It was 
not unusual for eight hundred people to be present in 
the Christmas service. Doubtless the beggars and many 
others came for the gifts they were sure to get, but there 
were others, especially the Christian workers, who had 
so learned that it is more blessed to give than it is to 
receive that they had suggested that they put up a money 
box into which they could drop their mites each Sunday 



29 



Miss Ida 

throughout the year in preparation for the gifts which 
they should give out at Christmastime. In one year 
their offerings had totaled thirty-eight rupees, eight an- 
nas (about $12.40). 

During the four-month period when Sister Shumaker 
worked as children's missionary in the Gujarat area she 
traveled more than a thousand miles among the villages 
in the Dangs State, around Vyara and Jalalpor, and had 
a great many interesting experiences. This schedule of 
work always meant traveling in an oxcart or tonga over 
rough village roads and paths, sleeping in schoolrooms or 
out under temporary booths. She visited schools and 
Sunday schools and Christian groups at the main sta- 
tions and also in the villages. Everywhere she went she 
gave interesting and profitable talks and showed the 
Christian teachers how to use better methods in their 
work. Under a mandap (booth) or under a spreading 
tree the people would assemble. Old and young, big and 
little, school children and their parents would meet 
together and enter into the exercises which Sister Shu- 
maker directed with great skill and delight. To the 
Indian people it was an unusual sight in the village to 
see her persuade a hundred or more people to join in 
a game, when everyone forgot to be self-conscious and 
entered heartily into the fun. 

When rich experiences came her way, Ida received 
them with overflowing appreciation. In 1924 she had 
the privilege of attending the World's Sunday School 
Convention in Scotland and the Keswick Convention in 
England. She considered this opportunity one of the 

30 



Hitherto Hath the Lord Helped Us 



most valuable blessings which ever came to her. She 
was profoundly grateful to friends who had made the 
trip from India to England possible. While in London 
she stayed with her very dear friend, Mrs. Jennie Weber, 
and together they planned how some gifts should be taken 
back to India for the village children. During her short 
stay, she interested a group of working young women 
in her work in India until they asked what they might 
do to help. This concern for others always was char- 
acteristic of Ida. She could not resist telling others of 
the work to which she had given her heart and enlisting 
their help and inviting them to deeper consecration. 

Miss Ida's second furlough came in 1925-1926. Again 
she visited many churches throughout the brotherhood 
and attended the Annual Conference at Winona Lake, 
Indiana. Sister Shumaker directed the building of a 
typical hut on the conference grounds and she reproduced 
many scenes from India. These presentations made In- 
dia seem more real to many people. 

Miss Ida was invited to more places than she could 
visit. Nearly every place she went people were eager 
for her to come. However, once she had a strange ex- 
perience when a local schoolteacher threatened to pun- 
ish the pupils who should attend the church service. The 
older pupils went to hear Miss Ida talk about India 
and as a consequence the teacher demanded that each 
one write an article of several hundred words reporting 
what they had heard. Parents felt that some of the best 
papers ever written in the school were prepared at that 
time and that the teacher had doubtless learned more 



31 



Miss Ida 



about the land of India than he had ever known before. 

Her contacts with young people in summer camps left 
lasting impressions with many. So thoroughly did she 
give herself on all occasions that the young people were 
irresistibly drawn to her. There was always enough 
humor and action to brighten every situation. Young 
people felt the pull of her personality and the attraction 
of her deep devotion. At Camp Harmony she met one 
young girl only twelve years of age who had been al- 
ready writing to her for three years. This meeting proved 
to be the beginning of a most constructive friendship 
which lasted through the next twenty years until Miss 
Ida's death. 



32 



INDIAN SUNDAY SCHOOLS AND THE INDIAN CHILD 

Our Sunday schools in India are as varied and as dif- 
ferent as there are classes and conditions; but, every- 
where you will find the child just as responsive, lovable 
and teachable as you will find anywhere (if not more so) 
if he has a chance. As Dr. Poole says, "The whitest part 
of the white harvest is the childhood of the world," and 
it is certainly true of our India. Therefore our Christian 
education must center about the child. We must place 
"the child in the midst" where Christ placed him. We 
must build our program around childhood and claim life 
at its beginning rather than try to reclaim it at the end. 
We must choose between tending lambs or hunting for 
stray sheep, for "the best and most natural way for a 
child to enter into his spiritual heritage is to grow into it 
gradually from the beginning. Only those ideals which 
have been built into the structure of character from child- 
hood later become the dynamic and dependable factors in 
his life." And, as our own Dr. Kurtz said at Glasgow, 
"The supreme task of the race is the education of child- 
hood. But the problem is to get the grown-ups to behave 
long enough for the task to be completed." 

A great educator urged: "Let us live for the children." 
One of our greatest objects in all our Sunday-school work 
must be to find out how best we can give effect to that 
principle. It is the call of the child that summons every 
true worker to the task of bringing the child to its highest 
and truest development. This is our most important 
business. 

If India is to be won for Christ it must be through the 
children. Herein lies our hope — our opportunity. 

— Ida C. Shumaker, in January Missionary Visitor, 1925 



Watch God Work While You Pray 

"And Light and Strength and Faith 

Are opening everywhere! 
God only waited for me till 
I prayed the larger prayer." — Cheney 



CHAPTER IV 



Watch God Work While You Pray 



On her return to the India field late in 1926, during 
their first touring season she and the Wagoner family- 
were out in the tent doing evangelistic work. They 
were in many villages and they went to some places 
where Christians had never been before. It was about 
this time that the mission decided that a self-supporting, 
self-governing and self-propagating church and Christian 
community should be established near the village of 
Khergam and Sister Ida was appointed to this task. A 
plot of ground about ten acres in extent was purchased. 

The village of Khergam is about fifteen miles east of 
Bulsar, on the other side of the unbridged Auranga River, 
which is affected by the ocean tides. It is true that there 
was a large boat which was available at times but usually 
the river had to be forded. Often there were thrilling 
and rather frightening experiences for Miss Ida and 
her helpers as they crossed this big river. If they were 
late or had forgotten the rule of the tides, they found 
the high water already in and it usually meant either 
fording the river or waiting for hours until the tide 
went out. It was always somewhat terrifying whenever 
the cart and the team of oxen got beyond their depth 

35 



Miss Ida 

and had to swim the rest of the way. Frequently every- 
thing in cases and baskets got soaked, even to the week's 
supply of bread. Once on such an occasion everything 
had been thoroughly drenched and Miss Ida's freshly 
laundered clothes were wet. After struggling through 
to the other side, she spread the laundry out on the 
bank of the river to dry. Even her postage stamps were 
soaked, and they too were laid out on the sand to dry. 
Women and children had watched them cross the river 
and feared they would drown. They crowded about 
Miss Ida and helped her to spread things out to dry, 
marveling all the while that she and her possessions were 
spared. They became her friends and from that time 
on they were happy to exchange greetings every time she 
passed along the road. 

It was in January 1927 that Ida Shumaker, along with 
Brother Naranji V. Solanki and his wife, Benabai, and 
their family went to Khergam to take charge of the work. 
With them was a little girl always known to Miss Ida as 
the "nest egg." Elder Naranji and Benabai had been 
with Ida at Bulsar, Jalalpor and Wanki and they knew 
how to face problems together. The unfinished bamboo 
shed, the one little shoot of a tree, the unfenced com- 
pound covered with grass that even the goats would not 
eat, no well, no place to house the teachers — all this did 
not look very hopeful; nevertheless the three of them 
saw great possibilities in the small beginnings about them 
and they were undaunted. 

Real work began. The promise of the "open door" 
was claimed and they moved ahead with the assurance 



Watch God Work While You Pray 



that God is love. They believed that by putting love 
into action his work would succeed in spite of difficulties 
and persecution. There was persecution born out of sus- 
picion. Many of their neighbors were suspicious from 
the beginning. Even some of the Christian teachers 
throughout the district were fearful. When the an- 
nouncement was made that a Sunday school and regular 
services would be held each Sunday, they told those in 
charge that such a thing could not be done. They feared 
that even the children attending the day school in the 
unfinished building would stop coming. They were sure 
that such a bold announcement would prevent parents 
from sending their girls to the boarding school. In an- 
swer they were told that the work was to go forward and 
Christ was to be lifted up before the people. The Lord 
took care of the services, both the Sunday school and 
the preaching hour, during that first year, and at the end 
of the year sixty-five were enrolled in the Sunday 
school and thirty-five girls were in the boarding school. 
There had been strong opposition all along but the work 
grew. There were baptisms and a communion service, 
and then persecution flared up anew. The strongest op- 
position came when the first wedding was held, but in 
spite of everything the Christian workers knew that the 
hand of God was upon them. 

At the first Christmastide, three thousand people gath- 
ered on the compound. The people were ready for a 
celebration although they did not want it in the name of 
Jesus. But Naranji believed in fearless and unapolo- 
getic witness and in letting the people know from the 



37 



Miss Ida 

first where the Christians stood; so he gave the people 
a welcome in the name of Christ. To this the enemy- 
took offense and an underground stirring up of suspicion 
began immediately. Then it broke out in virulent per- 
secution. Many people were led astray until it looked 
to human eyes as if all the work of that section was 
doomed. But Miss Ida and her two faithful co-workers 
were not seeing with human eyes. Weeks were spent 
in traveling from village to village both day and night, 
trying to replace fear with hope in the scattered, terri- 
fied flock at each place in about nineteen villages. 

The climax came on May 7, 1928. The whole Dhodia 
caste met in council. They called three Hindu swamis 
(ascetic religious leaders) to come and speak against the 
mission and Christ and thus incite the multitude gathered. 
The planned-for result was to go then in a mob, tear down 
the school building and return the girls to their respective 
villages. 

While the mass meeting was in progress Miss Ida was 
in her room alone in prayer claiming the promise of 
the One who gave her this work and through whose 
name this persecution had come. And across the way 
in their own home were Elder Naranji and Benabai on 
their knees, too, in prayer. After some hours of agoniz- 
ing intercessory prayer, Miss Ida felt the burden lifted 
and she was led to praise God for victory. Then she went 
to her co-workers and told them to arise and rejoice, 
for the victory had come. They wondered but joined 
her in praise. In a very short time a runner came from 
the mass meeting with the news that the swamis hired 

38 



Watch God Work While You Pray 



to curse had come with praise for the work of Christian 
missions. Like Balaam of old, they were under a re- 
straint that kept them from doing what they were 
paid to do. To the instigators of the persecution this 
meeting was a failure, but to those who had spent hours 
in the presence of Him whose hand is not shortened the 
victory was the Lord's. 

April 1, 1928, stands out as a day of great events, for 
on that day the Khergam church was organized. There 
were sixty charter members who gathered together in 
the little bamboo house. To add to the joy of the oc- 
casion, Brother Otho Winger, the chairman of the Gen- 
eral Mission Board, was present and delivered the main 
address. A new church of Jesus Christ had been estab- 
lished and its members were determined to work for its 
growth in the entire Khergam area. 

Ten years later there was in the Khergam church a 
membership of three hundred seventy. There were six- 
ty-five Christian families living within a mile of the 
church. All the neighbors but a few had become Chris- 
tian. Many continued faithful under continued severe 
persecution. Most of these families lived in their own 
homes. They paid for them through the help of their 
Christian Co-operative Society. The story of the up- 
building of the community cannot be told without a word 
about that Co-operative Society. It was organized in 1929 
and six years later had a membership of one hundred 
eight and a capital of nine thousand rupees from Chris- 
tians. The society was started with a government loan 
which was paid back in full and a loan from the mission 



39 



Miss Ida 

which was paid back year by year. Over a period of 
several years the society was in fine condition, had a 
monthly income of about three hundred rupees and had 
only two or three delinquent members. A visit to the 
simple and inexpensive homes built through this aid, a 
walk around the numerous rice plots that helped to meet 
the owners' payments, and seeing the character-building 
pride of ownership and the keen interest in every spot 
made one realize that something very substantial had 
happened in the lives of the people there. 

Near the girls' school, on another compound, a boys' 
boarding school was built. This boys' school building, 
brought to Khergam from fifteen miles away, was moved 
at the expense and by the voluntary labor of the Kher- 
gam church. Added to the more than forty in these two 
boarding schools there were day pupils coming from 
Christian families. And many Hindu children also came 
from the near-by village. The number staying in the 
boarding schools had of necessity been kept low because 
of the lack of funds. The vision from the beginning in- 
cluded having girls as well as boys in the mission schools, 
thus making the establishment of Christian homes pos- 
sible. The Christian weddings and the founding of Chris- 
tian homes during the following years have, therefore, 
been a great satisfaction. 

But the story of the schools and the homes does not com- 
plete this picture. There is also the church in the heart 
of the community. Sunday-school children, grown-up 
school children, relatives and friends of Miss Ida's in 
America gave the money to begin the building of the 

40 



Watch God Work While You Pray 



Khergam church. They gave the first half of the money 
for the building. Then came the depression in America 
and orders were given for all building to stop on the 
India field. At this time only the foundations of the 
church had been laid, and the doors and windows which 
had been prepared had to stay in storage at Bulsar. An- 
other season rolled around. Miss Ida was in the hospital 
with a tired-out heart. 

When the Khergam teachers gathered for their regular 
monthly meeting with a burden on their hearts for Miss 
Ida, they began to wonder if they could not do some- 
thing about the unfinished church. One man offered to 
sell his house and land and give two hundred fifty rupees 
if they would proceed with the work on the church. And 
so the work began. Miss Ida had from the first given un- 
stintingly of her strength and yet she had not made any 
of the people beggars. She had somehow built into them 
her own sacrificial spirit. And that spirit now bore fruit. 
Over seventy very poor members gave less than five cents 
each. Naranji's father, who was the contractor and 
builder, found great joy in giving his services completely 
to the church. He would take no pay for the weeks and 
months of work he put into the building, for he did his 
work as unto the Lord. Other laborers gave their service 
free also. Owners of carts used them freely to help in 
the building. Teachers gave one month's wage out of 
their meager money. This was over and above the tenth 
they regularly gave. By counting labor value the people 
of the Khergam church in one year had added four thou- 
sand five hundred rupees to the four thousand eight hun- 

41 



Miss Ida 

dred rupees which had come from America. Each morn- 
ing during the erection of the building, Naranji, the pas- 
tor, had met with all the workmen for a period of prayer 
before beginning the day's work. On March 27, 1934, 
the church was ready for dedication and the building 
stood as a monument to the deep consecration of the 
Khergam Christians and the glowing faith of Miss Ida. 

Throughout the years the Thanksgiving Day service 
at the Khergam church has come to be an outstanding 
event. Until the church building was built and all ex- 
penses were met, the service was held especially with the 
purpose of bringing in gifts for the church. Every mem- 
ber gave as he could. One promised some needed lum- 
ber, another promised days of labor, certain ones would 
furnish plaster, one man gave a tenth from his farm dur- 
ing the year, another brought a pumpkin, someone else 
gave a goat, and women and children gave as they were 
able of cotton, fruit, eggs, or rice. Visitors who came 
were deeply impressed and they marveled at the heavy 
burden which the members carried so willingly and glad- 
ly. Someone has said that church buildings can be built 
with sacrifice and prayer and much loving labor. Nor 
has the spirit of giving ceased since the church building 
has been erected. 

These years had been filled with heavy duties and 
with the strain of concern and Sister Ida had felt the 
weight of it all; yet within her heart she sang songs of 
thanksgiving and she was happy in the little common- 
place things of life. There was a deep-seated sense of 
humor in her soul which broke forth on most occasions. 

42 



Watch God Work While You Pray 



All that is needed to prove this is to quote from one of 
her articles written from Khergam which appeared in 
the Missionary Visitor: 

"You should pay me a visit in my real Indian house 
here in the jungle. Like Paul, it is a 'hired house' in 
which I live. It has mud walls and mud floors. You 
could enjoy many rare luxuries all free of charge. I 
have a spacious 'roof garden,' well lighted by moon and 
stars, the finest kind of electric lights. The birds and 
wind, nature's helpers, have made possible this garden 
on my roof. I also have a first-class orchestra — songsters 
of various kinds — with Mr. Toad leading the band, a cats' 
concert, in the interim, and many 'operatic spasms' when 
Mr. Snake appears. That makes me think of my 'con- 
servatory' also. That is a story too long to tell, only 
this: A few feet from my house is a dense jungle. At 
present it is occupied by a pair of large cobras, which 
often appear, yet never stay long enough for us to give 
them a needed 'salaam.' One morning we were at 
prayer in my house when I heard a slight unusual noise. 
I opened my eyes just a wee bit and saw Mr. Snake 
come into the prayer meeting. I kept my eye on him 
to see which route he meant to take. He came in one 
door and kept close to the wall on the three sides (we 
were on the fourth side) and made his exit. No one else 
knew of this till the amen was spoken and they saw the 
'tail end' of Mr. Snake departing. You see he came in 
right by me so I saw. Maybe that was a case of using 
the words, 'Watch and pray,' in another sense." 

Early each morning the church bell, which was selected 



43 



Miss Ida 

and sent from England by Ida's very dear friend, Mrs. 
Weber, has called the Khergam community to prayer. 
The children have continued to come from the boarding 
school and all the families of the vicinity have come to 
this daily worship hour. Here they have united as a 
community in worship and Bible study. No one has ever 
entered the sanctuary without first removing his shoes. 
No one has thought of talking aloud. No absence has 
ever gone unnoticed. At the heart of all has always been 
the upheld Christ. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," 
"And I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me," 
"Watch God work while you pray," and "See what God 
hath wrought" have always been the spurs which kept 
their faith undaunted. 

An entire book could well be written about the growth 
of the church and the community at Khergam, about 
how the schools developed and how the surrounding vil- 
lages were touched, about the growth of the Wankal 
community and the organization of the Bamanvel church, 
which was like a daughter of the Khergam church. Such 
a book would be also a picture of Ida Shumaker's labor 
of love for the eighteen years between 1927 and 1945. 
When impossible situations faced her and her Indian fel- 
low workers they did not attempt to solve them in their 
own strength, but laid all before the Lord and trusted 
Him for guidance and strength. Elder Naranji V. Solanki 
and his wife, Benabai, worked with Miss Ida as constant 
and faithful companions. In the midst of great difficul- 
ties they rejoiced as they saw the directing hand of God. 
Wonderful services of thanksgiving and rejoicing were 

44 



Watch God Work While You Pray 



held and the people came together for praise and the 
renewal of their vows. All of this made Miss Ida rejoice. 

So rapidly did the years pass by that it seemed but a 
few years until it was time for her third furlough. As 
before, while she was in America most of her time was 
spent among the churches. Sister Ida was a popular 
speaker and many churches invited her to come. Planned 
tours took her through several church districts. Her mes- 
sages were filled with inspiration and so personal was her 
contact that all who met her or heard her speak felt that 
she had inspired them to see new visions of opportunity. 
Here and there in many places are to be found those who 
say: "She has been a great inspiration to me," "Her let- 
ters are so full of joy that they are like a benediction," 
"She always made me feel that I had helped her," "She 
always said such nice things and appreciated every lit- 
tle thing." In one of the churches which had been very 
close to her and her work she was presented on Mothers' 
Day with a beautiful bouquet of red roses, and on the 
card were these words, "To a 'Mother' who gave up a 
home of her own to be a mother of the children of the 
world." 

Once while on a tour where her strength had been 
heavily taxed she became ill, and in order to ward off 
pneumonia she was rushed to the local hospital. It was 
thoroughly characteristic of her that even on the short 
drive in the ambulance she should speak to the attendant 
nurse about India and encourage him to be a loyal 
Christian. All the doctors and nurses soon learned to 
know her and love her for her overflowing spirit. 



45 



What Hath God Wrought 

"What hath God wrought."— Numbers 23: 23 



CHAPTER V 



What Hath God Wrought 



Again it was a day filled with abounding joy when she 
left New York on the S. S. Britannic on September 22, 
1934, on her way back to her beloved India. This was 
her fourth term of service and again Khergam was her 
home. The members of the Khergam church rejoiced 
that she should occupy the rooms at the rear of the new 
church building. They had sent a special request to 
the Mission Board while Miss Ida was at home on fur- 
lough for her to return to them, and they were exceed- 
ingly happy that she should now dwell in their midst. 

If details of her daily schedule during the next six 
years could be told they would make interesting reading. 
The work continued to grow and Miss Ida taught the 
Christians how to stand upon their own feet. There were 
times when persecution was strong against them. The 
Arya Samajist adherents felt it was their religious duty 
to ferret out those families who had become friends of 
the Christians. This caused constant agitation and dis- 
trust and it drove Miss Ida and the Christian leaders to 
their knees many times. 

The oxcart and the small two-wheeled damani were in 
habitual use throughout the whole district as Elder 

47 



Miss Ida 

Naranji and Sister Ida made trips to visit the schools 
and the homes scattered all over the territory east of the 
river. Often during the hot, dry months she jogged along 
the roadside or across the open fields in clouds of dust. 
The shade of a tree looked inviting and frequently she 
enjoyed a short rest in company with a herd of cattle and 
all the attendant flies and insects. And then during the 
monsoon season more than once did the oxcart mire down 
in deep ruts and Miss Ida find herself wading out through 
the mud. In one of her letters she has given a picture 
of a monsoon trip which brought forth words of praise, 
not fear, from her lips. 

"We were up at 2 o'clock in the morning for we had 
three schools to see in that section. We had already vis- 
ited two and were headed for the third when suddenly 
the sky became inky black. We were yet on the bad 
country roads, away from any kind of protection what- 
ever. We were driving in a clear open space with no 
house near and not a person in sight. I told the ox driver 
to head for the main road as we could not reach the 
third school. The oxen could not go very fast for the 
road was bad. Suddenly the wind burst upon us in all 
its fury. We were facing it. It seemed for a time we 
were to be blown away. Such a fierce hurricane it was! 
The driver looked at me in a helpless sort of way with a 
mute appeal in his eyes. I turned to him and said that 
God would care for us as He had promised before we 
started. The promise had been given to us as we had our 
devotions. He had assured us: "My presence shall go 
with thee." And now on the lonely, slippery road in the 

48 



What Hath God Wrought 



midst of the storm we just reminded God of this promise, 
claimed it, and went right on, carefully and slowly. 

"I think I never saw a more beautiful sight in the 
heavens than I did then. The bright flashes of the 
zigzag lightning with such a dark background made a 
most fascinating display of electrical power. I saw the 
hand of God in it. The heavens declared the glory of 
God. This was followed by loud peals of thunder that 
seemed to shake the earth. Peal after peal echoed forth. 
Really, it seemed like great majestic music to my ears. 
I soon found I was singing This Is My Father's World. 

"On, on we went, for we were yet far from home as 
well as a long distance from the main road. Now came 
the slashing, dashing, pouring rain! Soon the country 
road became as a wild river. There was water, water 
everywhere. In a very short time, the oxen were wading 
water knee-deep. We must put ourselves into the 
Father's hands and we trusted ourselves to the faithful, 
sure-footed oxen too. They could not see the deep holes 
in the ruts of the road, but they carefully felt their way 
along. 'There shall be showers of blessings' came pop- 
ping into my head as I saw the brown, hard-baked, thirsty 
earth drinking in the freshness. And thus a note of 
praise and thanksgiving was sounded as on we went." 

By actual experience she knew the truth of what she 
wrote for the Gospel Messenger when she said, "To build 
up a village Christian community challenges the best 
that is in one. It takes hard work. It also takes the 
labor of love and the patience of hope. We must go where 



49 



Miss Ida 

the people are and live among them. We must begin 
where they are and then lead on gently but firmly and 
resolutely until the desired goal is reached, then move on 
to higher ground and keep growing. As we live among 
them as real lovers of their souls, we dare not attempt 
to change everything in a day, or to turn their little 
world upside down. We must share their joys and sor- 
rows, taking lively interest in all the little details of their 
daily lives. It means implanting in every village the de- 
sire for its own improvement. We must build not only 
without, but within; then we shall be very conscious of 
the very presence of Jesus, for upon that foundation we 
must build." 

During this period of service the Khergam church had 
grown until it believed it was time to take steps to or- 
ganize a daughter church in the village of Bamanvel, 
about twelve miles away. In four villages, land had been 
deeded to the church for the local schools. In each village 
where there was a school the village people had put 
up the school buildings, had kept them in repair and had 
furnished everything except the Christian teacher's wages 
and his supplies. And the people were encouraged to 
give something toward the support of the teacher. As 
far as possible the people were led out on the principle 
of self-support and they were encouraged to be a self- 
supporting, indigenous church and Christian community. 
By their yearly thanksgiving offerings, their Sunday- 
school and church offerings, birthday offerings, special 
thank offerings and their tithes they were on the way 
toward self-support. 

50 



What Hath God Wrought 



Although the work was difficult it was wonderful to 
see the growth and development of the village people 
when one considered the point from which they started 
and the conditions under which they lived. 

To realize anew the pleasure Miss Ida got and gave 
on her visits to the village schools, one should reread her 
account of parents' day at Maria. The little village had 
outdone itself in making everything ready for a fine pro- 
gram. Some six hundred people were present. This 
was the day when Miss Ida was to hand out the prizes. 
As she arose from her high and narrow chair it rose 
with her. When she was finally set free, her dress was 
torn in several places. As she said, there was nothing 
else to do but smile and make the villagers feel at ease. 

A number of great days stand out in the history of 
the Khergam church. There were the great thanksgiving 
services when everyone came, bringing an offering, the 
Christmas season, Passion Week, when the sacred bap- 
tismal rites were witnessed by the whole congregation, 
and there were the special services when someone of 
their number was called into the ministry or other office 
in the church. Visitors came from neighboring church- 
es and missions. A deputation from the homeland, mem- 
bers from the Mission Board and friends almost always 
as they departed left with one of Sister Ida's verses 
upon their lips, "What hath God wrought!" When Miss 
Van Doren, educational secretary for the National Chris- 
tian Council, studied the work at Khergam she said it 
was evident that a master mind was back of this whole 
project, for even the woodpile fitted into the picture. 



51 



Miss Ida 

Miss Ida was generous and unselfish to a fault. She 
found great satisfaction in helping others and she 
shared that which she had liberally. Her friends loved 
to give gifts to her and she in turn loved to give to her 
friends. Never did she keep back things for herself. 
The reason she accepted presents was that she might 
pass them on to others. It has often been said of her 
that she did things in double measure, for her liberality 
knew no bounds. And yet it is true that in her gen- 
erous giving she always aimed to give in such manner 
as to help people to become more resourceful rather 
than to pamper them. One man expressed it exactly right 
when he said, "When I give I make beggars; when 
Miss Ida gives she makes givers." 

By the end of 1940, Miss Ida had given thirty years 
of constant service to India and she returned to America. 
So unselfishly had she given of her strength that she was 
weary and none too well. All had wondered that she 
had not broken down but the Lord had sustained her 
marvelously. In fact, as she came back to the States, 
many thought she had returned to stay. As she took 
the train at Bulsar large numbers of her friends from 
Khergam and Bulsar came to bid her farewell. Many 
wreathes of flowers were placed about her neck and 
many tears were shed, for the people thought they would 
not see her face again. And missionary children pinned 
flowers in her hair and loved her for all the jolly times 
she had shared with them. On October 19, 1940, she 
and Eliza Miller left India's shores. 

Her voyage homeward must have given her the rest 
52 



What Hath God Wrought 



she needed, for shortly after she came home she re- 
ceived and accepted many invitations from churches to 
visit them. She was scheduled for tours among the 
districts and again her time and strength were given to 
her witness concerning India. It was not long until her 
friends knew that she was homesick for India. She could 
speak of little else than the tasks still waiting to be done 
in the Khergam area. She said she felt that there was 
still another chapter for her to write in India. Many 
of her friends prayed earnestly that the way might 
open for her to return, and her daily prayer was that 
the Lord's will should be done. 



53 



The Lord Hath Done Great Things for Us 

"The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we 
are glad."— Psalm 126:3 



CHAPTER VI 



The Lord Hath Done Great Things for Us 



And so it came about that after a four years' sojourn in 
the States, Ida was on her way back to the precious land 
of India. One congregation in Middle Pennsylvania 
helped her in a special way with funds for her return to 
attend the golden jubilee and spend a few years in service. 
Her trip back was a long and tedious one, for it was 
during the years of war. She and Lillian Grisso went 
by way of Lisbon and South Africa and reached India on 
the Western coast at Goa. They came to Bulsar just 
one week before the great jubilee celebration, commemo- 
rating the fifty years of the Church of the Brethren in 
India, began. Her prayers had been answered. 

The motto of the golden jubilee was "The Lord hath 
done great things for us whereof we are glad." It was 
as if one of Miss Ida's chief verses had been selected 
for that great occasion. No one would be able to describe 
the depth of her joy during those days of corporate praise 
and thanksgiving. In spite of her years and regardless 
of the fact that she had recently ended a long voyage, she 
joined the long procession which marched four miles 
about the town of Bulsar. Walking in the midst of the 
women and the children she loved, she was very happy. 

55 



Miss Ida 

After the celebration had ended she went to her home 
at Khergam. The rooms at the rear of the church build- 
ing were hers. She wrote to her friends that she had 
real fun in setting up housekeeping for the eighth time. 
So natural was it for her to enter into the work that she 
was immediately in the midst of it all. She was so busy 
that she found little time to write. She promised to write 
a letter for the church paper telling about her work at 
Khergam but it never came through. However, all who 
knew her knew that her work was a continuation of 
what she had done four years earlier. These were days 
when everyone was faced with increased hardships 
brought on by the war. Ida faced them bravely. Prices 
were high and provisions were scarce. In a letter to a 
friend she wrote: "We must make every minute of the 
day count for we get only a very small amount of kero- 
sene each week to use in our lamp, and it is not enough. 
I do my reading and writing by daylight so that I can 
save a few drops of oil for the longer evenings during 
monsoon." Not for her own need was she concerned, but 
for the needs of the children in the school and for the 
people of the community and the villages. To the best 
of her ability, as she herself said, she rendered unto Christ 
her wholehearted consecration and service. And it was 
all done in Jesus' name and in the power of the Holy 
Spirit. Thus one year passed by. 

Then came the cablegram saying that Miss Ida had 
passed away on February 16, 1946. She had been ill 
for several weeks with heart and kidney trouble but 
she had been too much occupied with her work to give 

56 



The Lord Hath Done Great Things for Us 

her health much thought. Early in January she went to 
Bulsar for medical treatment, expecting to return to 
Khergam soon. Although she had the best possible medi- 
cal and nursing care, since she was in the same home 
with the Doctors Cottrell and Nurse Verna Blickenstaff, 
her condition steadily grew worse. 

She realized her condition and yet she was hopeful to 
the end. When Dr. Laura Cottrell told her one day that 
her heart would soon stop its beating and she would be 
at home with God, she said, "Yes, it will and all will be 
well." She had been anointed several weeks before and 
her faith was strong. Almost to the end she talked of 
work still to be done, yet she was content when God said 
she had done her part. She thought of her going as en- 
tering a new and more glorious life. On Saturday morn- 
ing she passed quietly into rest. 

At four o'clock on a Sunday morning the funeral serv- 
ice was held on the front veranda of this medical bunga- 
low. Many Indian friends from Khergam and from the 
Bulsar community and the small group of missionaries 
came together and in the glory of a bright full moon 
heard the reading of Scripture and the words of com- 
mendation spoken for one who had been faithful to the 
call and commission of God. 

D. J. Lichty, Naranji V. Solanki and T. B. Jerome had 
charge of the service. The message of First Corinthians 
fifteen was read and a short account of her life was given. 
Then Brother Solanki, who with his faithful wife had 
been her co-worker for many years, read from Romans 
8: 28-39. He spoke of her untiring spirit and her great 

57 



Miss Ida 

joy in giving the best she had to the One she loved best, 
and of the double portion of service she had always 
rendered. His tribute was sincere and all who heard him 
speak knew his words were true. This service was con- 
ducted in Gujarati. From the bungalow all went to the 
English cemetery, where Scripture was read and a prayer 
in English was offered by Brother Lichty. Then Miss 
Ida's body was laid to rest. 

Three weeks after her death, when the annual con- 
ference met at Bulsar, the missionaries who could not be 
present at the funeral came together for a memorial 
service. The following resolution was prepared: 

"RESOLVED: That the missionaries assembled in an- 
nual conference at Bulsar, India, hereby record their deep 
sense of loss in the death of Sister Ida C. Shumaker, which 
occurred February 16, 1946. 

"Sister Shumaker came to India in 1910 and served 
continuously for a period of thirty years; then, after an 
absence of four years, she was privileged to return for 
the jubilee and another year of service. Her zeal and 
devotion to the cause, her sacrificing spirit and her un- 
flagging energy were a continual inspiration to her co- 
workers and the church in India. She was widely known 
as an expert teacher of children, and was greatly loved 
by those whom she had taught throughout the years. 
'Aunt Ida' was also a great favorite of the missionaries' 
children, for whom she always had a cheery word, an 
exciting story, and a bit of candy or cake. 

"We praise the Lord for her inspiring service and her 
58 



The Lord Hath Done Great Things jor Us 

zeal for the Master's cause, and pray that He may send 
forth others to carry on the great work which she laid 
down when she was called to her eternal home." 

The Joint Council of the Church of the Brethren in 
India passed the following resolution: 

"We are extremely sorry to take note of the sad demise 
of Miss Ida C. Shumaker on the 16th of February, 1946, 
at Bulsar. 

"Considering her experience, her deep love and sym- 
pathy for the Indian Church, her unbounded zeal for 
her work, her loving and sympathetic attitude towards 
adults, children, males and females of all castes and creeds 
and especially her work and encouragement for the up- 
lift of womenfolk, her death will be an irreparable loss 
to the Indian Church. Her love for the Indian Church is 
clearly revealed in this, that even after completing the 
period of thirty years of service, instead of getting re- 
tired she came back to India and served the Church for 
one year more, until the time of her death. Her memory 
will always remain fresh and green in our hearts. The 
Indian Church will always remain indebted to her for 
her unstinted work and services." 

The church in America as well as in India had been 
blessed by her life. Friends everywhere felt a spirit of 
benediction upon them when they learned of her de- 
parture. In many churches throughout the brotherhood, 
even among groups that had not known her long, memori- 
al services were held. In her own childhood church at 
Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, a tablet was erected to her 
memory. 

59 



Miss Ida 

The General Mission Board has endorsed most gladly 
the request which came from the Joint Council of the 
Church in India that in honor of Sister Shumaker a me- 
morial school building shall be built at Khergam and 
memorial cottages shall be built in surrounding villages 
for village evangelists and pastors. As this call goes to 
the churches of the brotherhood, it is sent out with the 
prayer that many friends will respond and thus help to 
carry on the work which was so dear to Sister Ida's heart. 

The chapter she desired to write in India proved to be 
the last chapter of a life wholly dedicated to Christ in 
behalf of India. Only eternity will reveal the contribu- 
tion she made during the thirty-five years she gave of 
herself for the growth of the kingdom of God in India, 
and especially during the last year, which was wholly 
dedicated to the people she loved so dearly. She had 
stood watching God work and His presence had gone with 
her even unto the end. 



60 



Tributes From Fellow Workers in India 



IN MEMORY OF SISTER IDA 

J. M. Blough, Vyara, India 

Who can estimate the value of Sister Ida Shumaker's 
last year of service? One year of guidance, one year of 
united prayer, one year of fellowship, one year of encour- 
agement and teaching to trust the Lord fully — who can 
measure the value of such service? God does not count 
time as we do. Her enthusiasm and example of devo- 
tion and sacrifice have always been a great inspiration 
to others to live better lives and to work more diligently 
for the Lord. 

It is befitting that she should pass her last days among 
her fellow workers in the land of her adoption and that 
her body should rest in its soil. 

The missionaries assembled in their annual meeting 
held a memorial service on the fifth of March. In it many 
testimonies were given concerning her sterling qualities 
and Christian virtues. She came back to India because 
she believed firmly that her work was not finished here. 
She was eager to do still more for the spiritual growth of 
the Khergam church. She excelled in devotion to duty, 
stedfastness, self-sacrifice and liberality. She became 

61 



Miss Ida 

poor to make others spiritually rich. She was very con- 
scientious and could not be turned away from what she 
believed was right. She was devoted to her Lord and her 
Bible and led a life of prayer. She was most unselfish, 
always doing things for others and desiring nothing in 
return. She was an excellent correspondent and kept in 
close touch with many friends in America. She was an 
expert storyteller and teacher of children, and thousands 
will praise the Lord for the privilege of sitting in her 
classes both in day school and in Sunday school. She is 
gone but her spirit lives among us; her work is ended but 
her influence will live forever. 



IN APPRECIATION OF SISTER IDA C. SHUMAKER 

Elder Naranji V. Solanki 

On behalf of the Khergam church, India 

When Sister Shumaker returned from furlough in 1926, 
she was appointed to Khergam to open a village boarding 
school for girls. At this time there was only a compound 
without a fence, a small tree and a small bamboo house 
which was not yet finished, with no houses at all for 
teachers or for herself. But she and the workers were 
not discouraged; they began with a victorious spirit. She 
rented a small house on the edge of town which was 
without conveniences. On the twentieth of January, 1927, 
when the first girl came into the boarding school, Miss 
Shumaker was very happy. 

62 



Tributes From Fellow Workers in India 

In the face of opposition she, with the power of love, 
built up the boarding school on a good foundation and 
made it strong. 

To strengthen the school and the Khergam church after 
1927 she traveled through the villages, made many friends, 
increased the number of village schools to twenty-one 
and made them an evangelistic agency. She began the 
evangelistic work with such zeal that in April of 1928 
the Khergam church was organized. 

Miss Shumaker by spending herself and her means 
night and day put the Khergam church on its feet. In 
this she was willing to spend even her last cent; in order 
to establish the Khergam and Bamanvel churches she 
labored without rest and finally gave even her life. She 
was very desirous of establishing two churches beside 
Khergam. Bamanvel to the north was established in 
1935, and permission was granted in 1945 to establish the 
other in the south at Wankal. This vision will surely 
come to fruition, we firmly believe. 

Even at the age of seventy-one she had such interest in 
the Khergam and Bamanvel churches that in spite of 
great difficulties she would not spare herself but pressed 
on and returned to India. Here she visited these churches 
again and in her unique way encouraged them in their 
evangelistic work; but her physical difficulties increased 
and on February 16, 1946, she left this world and went 
home to the Father's house. She is no longer with us, 
but the Khergam and Bamanvel churches and the works 
she did in them will ever remain as memorials to her. 
The beautiful church at Khergam is named "Miss Shu- 

63 



Miss Ida 



maker Memorial Church." A great favorite with Miss 
Shumaker was Matthew 6:33. From 1927 until her death 
she kept this verse as a motto before the church and the 
community. 

Truly, "unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and 
die it abideth by itself alone; but if it die it bringeth forth 
much fruit." This is perfectly true of Miss Shumaker. 
Blessed be this great and devoted missionary! 



Ida C. Shumaker 
Ruth B. Statler 

She was sister to the brown skin; 

Loved and loving, she was kin 
To all India. There her heart was, 

There her sympathies. What does 
God require of those who love Him? 

All of heart and all of hand. 
Willingly her all she gave Him 

In that lovely, sinful land. 
India drank of her rich spirit, 

Sipped the goodness of her heart, 
Then it claimed her mortal body; 

Now her ashes are a part 
Of its brown soil, as her memory 

Lives in brown-skinned India's heart. 



64 





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65 




The Miss Sahebs in 1914 

Front, left to right: Anna Eby, Olive Widdowson 
Center: Eliza Miller, Ida Shumaker, B. Mary Royer 
Back: Ida Himmelsbaugh, Sadie Miller, Kathryn Ziegler 



66 




Bulsar Missionaries About 1912 

From left to right: Dr. A. Raymond Cottrell, J. M. Blough, Quincy A. Holsopple, 
Ida Shumaker, Kathren Holsopple, Anna Blough, Dr. Laura Cottrell 




Enjoying the Luscious Mango 

The Wagoner family, Miss Ida and Aunty K. 

Left to right: Jo Wagoner, Ellen Wagoner, J. E. Wagoner, Ida Shumaker, 

Elizabeth Kintner and Beth Wagoner 



67 




Miss Ida at Wanki on Christmas Day. 1922 




Ida Shumaker Visiting in a Vyaia Village 




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Miss Ida Loved the Children 



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Elder Ncrcn'i V. Solonki and Family 




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Ch:istian Workers in Bamcmvel Village, Where 
Khergam's Daughter Church Is Located 



78 




Aunt Ida. 1940 

Margaret Brooks and Nina Alley are decorat- 
ing Aunt Ida with flowers before she sails 
from India in 1940 




Sister Ida 

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